Andrea Alonso, Sommelier and Nariz de Oro 2010 (2010 Golden Nose), will be in charge of directing a tasting session of great Pago wines at FENAVIN, although other tasting sessions specifically aimed at the blind, university students and those interested in wine in general will also be taking place
She is now famous for having the most phenomenal pituitary in Spain in as far as recognizing and dissecting all the aromas, flavors and smells of a wine are concerned. The Alicante based and Uruguay born sommelier and 2010 Golden Nose, Andrea Alonso Castaño, will be participating at the National Trade Fair on Wine (FENAVIN) held from May 10th to the 12th, in a tasting session on great Pago wines, evaluating a total of four wines, three of which are from La Mancha.
In Andrea Alonso's opinion there have always been good wines in Spain, which have improved even more with the great wager that the wineries have made and are making on quality, and also because of the increased scientific and human involvement in the sector. The expert also adds that the wine market "is very much alive and wide-ranging, increasingly more all the time and with more information available, the same via the internet and at the disposal of the client or consumer and we must try to offer the same better quality while in turn insuring that the cost is kept reasonable".
Given how dynamic the sector is, a Golden Nose must be in training continuously, Alonso confesses, apart from gathering together a good level of professionalism, excellent training, enthusiasm for work and a vocation to service, "our job doesn't involve pontificating, as we are actually here to inform and orientate the diner or client". And this, she adds, we must do in a dynamic and entertaining way, "in a way that is easy to understand, so that people will be encouraged to give their opinion on the wine they are consuming, in the same way they would comment on a delicious steak". In her opinion, during any meal or meeting at which wine is served, "responsibility should not be left in the hands of those who know more, but in fact we must lose our fear of having an opinion, because wine is actually a vehicle that encourages friendship".
"FENAVIN is extraordinary"
Knowledgeable as she is of FENAVIN from previous editions as a sommelier, the 2010 Golden Nose asseverates that the trade fair "is extraordinary, of an incredible magnitude; one of the few events in which it is possible to become acquainted with the products of the great majority of wineries and at which many commercial agreements are reached thanks to the presence of numerous national and international purchasing channels".
With regards to the tasting session she is to present at the Trade Fair, on May 11th at 10:00 a.m. in the 'Custodio Zamarra' Hall, Alonso highlights the exclusivity of the great Pago wines and their consumption on very few occasions, "as these are expensive wines due to the enormous amount of work that goes into them". These wines represent a luxury product that the participants will have the chance to learn more about at FENAVIN with the greatest possible guide. Andrea Alonso, who currently works at the Wine House found at the Makro Shopping Center in Alicante, competed in the Golden Nose contest that is organized by the Vinos + Gastronomía (Wines + Gastronomy) magazine and in which more than 400 sommeliers from all over Spain participated.
The sessions will not, however, be only limited to select wines, as other tasting sessions aimed at learning all about the wine sector are also programmed, as is the case with tasting sessions for the blind and for university students, among others. In view of the success of the first tasting session for the blind that was held two years ago, FENAVIN has decided to hold another, enthusiastically offering the participants the opportunity to become acquainted with and to learn how to distinguish the aromas, colors and flavors of the selected wines, which have been chosen by the President of the Madrid Association of Sommeliers, Luis García de la Navarra, who will be offering white wines from the winery Hacienda Albae, from Argamasilla de Alba; Mustiguillo, from Utiel (Valencia), "with a short history behind it, but with very interesting results" and wines from the winery Teso la Monja from Toro (Zamora).
At this edition the thirty persons who will be participating will learn to differentiate the characteristics of wines from the same family, but that have undergone a different selection process, "as the goal is based on the participants learning how to appreciate that a 2010 Chardonnay wine has fresher and fruitier aromas and is lighter in mouth than another Chardonnay wine that has spent time in an oak barrel". Hence the reason why the sommelier who works at the Aldaba Restaurant and who won the 2004 National Gastronomy Award has selected a young white Chardonnay wine, Hacienda Albae and a cask-aged white Chardonnay wine, Hacienda Albae Selección, apart from the Mestizaje and Finca Terrerazo wines from Valencia and the Zamora wines Almirez and Alabaster for the tasting session.
"Wine has no frontiers"
García de la Navarra stresses the positive experience two years ago, the same due to the interest, hopes and enthusiasm shown by the participants and with whom he also feels enriched. In his opinion, "wine has no frontiers, wine does not speak languages; the idea is to simply find what one prefers and why this is so". In short, he adds, the objective is to train the palates so that when they visit a restaurant or establishment "they will know how to order a wine". However, no barriers are imposed, the Madrid born sommelier comments, because the blind enjoy being told about the colors of the wine, they like to imagine what the wines are like, "which means that we are not dealing with shapes or colors, but with people with feelings", he underlines.
The representative of the Madrid sommeliers considers that FENAVIN is the most important trade fair in the country, both due to its national and international repercussion, "as it is the Trade Fair that attracts the greatest number of people coming in from abroad, which in turn means great business opportunities for the impresario".
Great Success among university students
The University of Castilla-La Mancha will be repeating its course on Initiation to the Tasting Session, which in its past edition enjoyed great success among the professors and students. In collaboration with the Better with Wine Project organized by the Ciudad Real Hotel, Restaurant and Tourist Association and the Association of Wine Producing Industry Impresarios, the activity that is set to take place on May 10th at 1:00 p.m., pretends to instill the culture of wine in the university world, teaching the participants to recognize wine's organoleptic properties, how to use the senses, how to handle the wine glass in itself, how to obtain the potential of the aroma and taste, etc., the same with four or five wines from La Mancha. In the words of the Professor of the Food Technology Department of the Chemistry Faculty, Miguel Ángel González Viñas, "the idea is that the thirty professors and university students that participate will learn to distinguish the peculiarities of each wine, trying to find the characteristics of the white wines, rosés, young wines, Crianzas … so that they will become acquainted with the entire range that is offered". In the opinion of González Viñas, the terrain and the climate are responsible for defining the character of the Manchego wine, where new varieties are being harvested, with great diversification and an important phenolic potential, "which makes them have a different quality, which is still comparable to any other wine in the world". The Food Technology Department, which also collaborates in other sessions held at FENAVIN, also has various biotechnology groups that are investigating the aromatic characteristics of the wines, the importance of the wood in cask-aged wines, the minority varieties such as the Moravia Agria and the phenolic potential of some of the red grape varieties, among other projects.
Another interesting tasting session that will be hosted at the Trade Fair will be coordinated by the Enologist and President of the Ciudad Real Wine Club, Celedonio Muñoz, on May 12th at 10:00 a.m. in the Gastronomy Samples Area. Up to thirty-five persons will have the opportunity to try three different wines, which have not been selected as yet, but that will correspond to a young red wine, a Reserve or a Crianza wine, and possibly a Pago wine as well. Muñoz will introduce the participants in the wine world and into responsible consumption by way of sensorial analysis, first with a theoretical analysis to then continue with practical cases, commenting each one of the wine's attributes in full detail.
Celedonio Muñoz has imparted numerous commented tasting sessions, among them those corresponding to the Delibo Vinum Project created by the Ciudad Real Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Impefe (Municipal Institute for Economic, Training and Employment Promotion of the Ciudad Real Town Hall), which a year ago also gave rise to the Wine Club that currently has more than 130 members. Having been born in Ciudad Real and as a winemaker, Muñoz acknowledges that he is proud to participate in FENAVIN, "as it is an extraordinary trade fair and, the fact that it takes place in Ciudad Real makes it even more important for me; it has evolved very positively and, even in these times of crisis, the wineries have responded in an impressive way", he concludes.